The bill, which seeks to clarify the taxation of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in the country, was defended in the Senate on Tuesday.
Sen. Pia Cayetano told her fellow lawmakers that the data provided by the BIR and PAGCOR is different on the number of POGOs in the Philippines.
Based on PAGCOR data, there are only 38 POGOs in the country, but according to the BIR, it reaches 43. PAGCOR and BIR data only match the 24 local gaming agents currently in the country.
According to Cayetano, the five POGOs registered with the BIR may not yet be on PAGCOR’s list.
There are 136 service providers of POGOs, based on data from PAGCOR, while 232 are registered with the BIR.
Cayetano wants the BIR and PAGCOR to be part of the proposed law so that the BIR and PAGCOR can have clear information sharing to match their data.
”During the pandemic, there are five new POGO registered enterprises but not yet operational, but they have registered,” she said.
According to Cayetano, tax collection on POGOs is expected to increase once her proposal becomes law.
PAGCOR, BIR differ in number of POGOs in PH
“If we were to combine the 5% gaming tax on the POGO and the 25% withholding tax on the employees, for 2021 it’s P28.7 billion ( projected ) and then for 2022 it’s P32 billion,” she said.
Cayetano added that many POGO employees in the country work here without the proper permits.
“Of the 196 POGO-related establishments that were inspected, 7% ( 1,632 ) of the employees did not have any permit,” she said.
She said their names had been submitted to the Bureau of Immigration, and she hopes the bureau will take action.
Cayetano admitted that there is already a PAGCOR Charter that obligates POGOs for a 5% franchise tax, but some POGO operators do not follow it.
“The reason why we are including it (5% franchise tax of POGOs ) here in the POGO bill, is because one of the excuses given by some POGOs is not they are not covered by this, and they pay the flat rate for foreign businesses, so we’re just making it clear that they are covered by that same 5% nothing more, nothing less,” she said.